High-Fat Diet Associated with Colon Cancer Recurrence

Risk may be lower with 'prudent' diet of fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables

TUESDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A Western-style diet that is rich in meat, fat, refined grains and desserts is associated with a substantially higher risk of recurrence and mortality among patients being treated for stage III colon cancer, according to a prospective observational study in the Aug. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, M.D., of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues followed 1,009 patients enrolled in an adjuvant chemotherapy trial. After answering a questionnaire, patients were grouped according to their tendency to consume either a Western-style diet or a "prudent" diet of fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables.

After a median follow-up period of 5.3 years, 324 subjects experienced a recurrence of the disease and 223 died. Patients in the highest quintile of the Western dietary pattern were 2.9 times more likely to have a recurrence than patients in the lowest quintile. The Western diet was also associated with higher mortality overall. The prudent dietary pattern was not significantly related to either outcome.

"Following resection of stage III colon cancer, increasing Western pattern intake may facilitate a milieu that allows residual microscopic disease to proliferate and spread," the authors conclude.

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